This is the first of several posts on the topic of typography. First, what is it? Typography is setting type for a design project. When you take a course in typography one of the first terms you will run into is type face. A type face is a family of fonts. Everyone who has used a word processor such as Microsoft Word is familiar with fonts. A font is a collection of characters that follow a unified design, such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial, etc. All fonts are either serif, sans serif, or monospaced. Serifs are the short decorative lines such as the horizontal bar under the “r” in this word: Georgia. I typed the word “Georgia” in the Georgia font, a serif font. I have just switched to a sans serif font, Verdana. In a monospaced font such as Courier, there is the same distance between each character. An example of this type of font is Courier New.
Some familiar terms in typography are pica, point, leading, tracking, kerning, glyph, and ligature. Since I want to keep this post short I will not define them here. Adobe has a glossary that lists these and many other typography terms here:
In my next post I will cover Justin Seeley’s fifteen rules of typography.
If you would like to learn more about this fascinating topic, I recommend a course at Lynda.com, Foundations of Typography, by Ina Saltz.